“Dengue is curable,” said Prof. Dr Noor-ul-Kabir, a professor of molecular medicine at the Panjwani Centre of Molecular Medicine in Karachi University. He was addressing a seminar held for awareness about the condition on Saturday.
He said that dengue sprang up because of stagnant water in areas with heavy rain. But nevertheless, it is curable. According to him, it is not necessarily entirely caused by a virus but by negligence. “Dengue has a mortality rate of 0.1%, and it is very upsetting to see it affecting peoples lives so much.” He felt that medicines are helpful 10% and the remaining 90% depends on a healthy diet which keeps our immune system strong.
Dr Kabir said that in a developing country like Pakistan, the provision of medical services is still very deficient. But dengue can be easily diagnosed by its clinical features and quick diagnostic kits available in the market.
Initially, the condition might appear as a viral infection, with severe headache, high fever and muscular pain. It cannot be distinguished at the early stage unless a rash appears on the skin.
“One needs to press it [the rash] hard to check if it bleeds,” said Kabir. “If the rash stops and bleeds again, then it is dengue.” The condition causes an immunological breakdown of platelets and bone marrow depression.
According to the researcher, no specific treatment is required for dengue. “Taking medicines may kill the virus but does not reverse the platelet breakdown,” he said.
The blood should be monitored constantly. He did not give much credit to remedies such as the extract of papaya leaf and fresh apple juice with lemon. “I leave people on their own when they talk about such treatments.”
Since dengue cannot be controlled by a vaccination, the source of mosquitoes should be eliminated, stressed the researcher. While DTD sprays are effective, quick and cheap, they also destroy crops. The best way to keep from getting infected is keeping a clean environment.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2011.
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